New Radar Drone Reveals Holes in U.S. Border Security

Border agents apprehended fewer than half of those who crossed border illegally in test phase

• April 4, 2013 10:29 am


A new advanced radar system has uncovered gaps in security along the U.S. border with Mexico–and revealed that border patrol agents apprehended fewer than half of those who crossed a 150-mile stretch of the border illegally in Arizona during the test phase.

The radar registered higher numbers of border crossings and lower rates for apprehension, despite the Obama administration's insistence that the border is secure, according to the Los Angeles Times:

Operated from a Predator surveillance drone, the radar system has collected evidence that Border Patrol agents apprehended fewer than half of the foreign migrants and smugglers who had illegally crossed into a 150-square-mile stretch of southern Arizona. […]

According to internal reports, Border Patrol agents used the airborne radar to help find and detain 1,874 people in the Sonora Desert between Oct. 1 and Jan. 17. But the radar system spotted an additional 1,962 people in the same area who evaded arrest and disappeared into the United States.

In contrast, the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, estimated in January that the Border Patrol had caught 64% of those who illegally crossed into the Tucson sector in 2011.

The system, which was developed by DARPA for use in Afghanistan, is still in its testing phase. The tests, however, have been successful enough that U.S. Customs and Border Protection has asked Congress for two more systems.